DVD Lan Kwai Fong

DVD Lan Kwai Fong

Rating: 4.8
Genres: Drama | Romance
Director: Wilson Chin
Writers: Fung Lam, Mark Wu
Stars: Shiga Lin, Zhiming Shen, Jeana Ho
Lan Kwai Fong (LKF), a well-known party location in Hong Kong with loads of nightclubs and bars. Everyone likes to go to LKF for fun, one night stands or even true love. LKF has captured the joys and sorrows of many… One night, Steven – a regular of LKF met the flight attendant – Jennifer. They had sex on the first night they met but both could feel love come along. They had another date on New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately, misunderstanding tore them apart and Jennifer decided to disappear from LKF. After eight months, Steven meets with Jennifer again and hopes to restart a relationship with her. However, Jennifer is no longer single, she’s now his boss, Leslie’s girlfriend. At the same time, Steven receives a call that his close friend collapsed and had to be sent to hospital. His friend encouraged him to follow his heart. When he finally decides to tell Jennifer about his feelings, Jennifer is already engaged to Leslie. Steven is heart-broken. He accepts the job promotion to stay at … Written by Chien Sugianto
Country: Hong Kong
Release Date: 15 September 2011 (Hong Kong)


  1. It's like the local equivalent of Boat Quay, Clarke Quay or Mohammad Sultan Road in its heyday, a film set against famous watering hole backdrops, that if a local equivalent was to be made there will be no short of locales, only for the filmmaker to decide where exactly to set it for maximum iconic mileage, and to spin some stories that encompasses the spirit of the location. I have been to Lan Kwai Fong some years back with a group of friends, but the funny thing is we never really found the place at first, walking around in circles trying to figure it out pre-GPS days, before suddenly realizing we're actually smack in the middle of it. Which made me realize that if you're not part of the crowd, that stretch of road may seem like any other, and quite unremarkable.

    My personal opinion that is. I suppose if you're never really part of something, you'll never really figure out its appeal. I'm not a party goer and find not much joy in having to hang out with a bunch of friends trying to be trendy, to see and be seen with the cool cat club, talking a lot but saying nothing, drinking for the sake of getting alcohol into the system – chugging down copious amounts of liquor will make my liver frown, and probably hope for some hook up to take place that will either lead back to someone's home, or the ubiquitous toilet. I never believed in finding anyone significant in a pub, nor become firm friends with party revelers, at least not off the cuff with the help of social lubricants.

    That, in essence, is this film. Written and directed by Wilson Chin, there's nothing too profound in its underlying message should there be one to begin with. If it's the filmmaker's intent to show how superficial and vacuous lives in a pub is, then this film will be a great success, since it's noisy and scattered, like someone suffering from ADD without focus nor giving much depth to anything. Everything's on the surface, with revelers portrayed as very one-dimensional, either there to look for booty, to feel or be felt up, to drink plenty and be entertained, or some characters are there quite reluctantly just to keep an eye on somebody else.

    There are reputations to keep and uphold, and reputations that go down the drain once exposed for the fraud they are. This accounts for its fairly adult rating with the very good looking, ensemble cast in various states of undress, the female of the species being more so in a skin flick. I suppose the poster with the cast in all sorts of lingerie will form the pull factor for anyone without a clue what this film is about, to give it a go, coupled with the name of the famous street in Hong Kong. It begins in noisy fashion set inside a pub run by Jacky (Jason Chan, who looks like a deadringer for a younger Donnie Yen with plenty of eyeliner), who has his bunch of regular patrons ranging from a reformed triad chief, to a liquor salesman Steven (Zo), to new thrill seekers such as a group of stewardesses on a night's out to paint the town red, one out to hook up with rich men in order to be showered with gifts, and her friend Jennifer (Shiga Lin) whose blossoming love life with Steven forms the fluffy romantic anchor of the narrative.

    Other subplots also bloat the narrative, with the village/pub bicycle who's a regular at the venue only to be tapped up for quickies, and seriously what transpired in her fairy tale ending is something which I think only exists in films (see, I really don't belong to this crowd), and that of a Chuck and Larry type character who's idea of being gay is to be thought of as safe. Naturally the policemen were not put under good light, painted as party poopers who come in droves, turn on the lights, and have everyone's identities checked, thrash talking and being thrash talked to.

    The film can be thought of as pieces of disparate short films being put together with makeshift scenes to combine characters from different threads in one setting and glue them all up, but effectively many aspects of the film get repeated like you're in the house enjoying its trance offering that you're never able to strike up anything deeper in meaning or with the characters. Do we care for them? Not quite, as they're adults who knowingly get into what they were looking for to begin with, and the troubles that come their way are nothing unexpected, and quite rote for a film narrative to cover them that it becomes almost tele- movie like in substance.

    It's a trip down memory lane with all the outdoor shots of Lan Kwai Fong, that has induced me to make another trip to the street during my next Hong Kong trip sometime in future. Maybe not to be seen, but definitely to see what I had probably missed the first time round.

  2. Hong Kong's celluloid depiction of its nightlife has somehow been synonymous with its triads, immortalised in iconic films like the 'Young and Dangerous' series. It makes for gripping cinema, but the reality is that the triads have been fast disappearing from the scene, while the city's nightlife has grown ever more colourful and interesting. 'Lan Kwai Fong' represents one of the few movies that dissociates the former from the latter, painting a relevant portrait of today's clubbing landscape made up of young working adults who hit the bars and clubs around the titular district for booze, music, company- and perhaps even love.

    Rather than being centred around any particular character, the film adopts a multi-character narrative built around the fictional Club Billion where the music is loud, the atmosphere is lively and most of all, the girls are hot. To die for is Cat (Dada Chan), the resident guy magnet surrounded by the opposite sex wherever she goes. She is also the apple of Sean's (Wong Chung Yiu) eye, the lawyer harbouring a crush on her since their secondary school days. While Sean tries to win Cat's heart, his two close friends, Steven (Zo) and Jacky (Jason Chan), have their sights on flight attendants Jennifer (Shiga Lin) and Jeana (Miki Yeung), both of them newbies at the start but take to partygoing like fish to water.

    The sheer number of characters in the movie means that there is little time spent on each individually- and the most fully fleshed out of the lot is Steven and Jennifer, their mutual attraction and subsequent relationship chosen by writing duo Mark Wu and Lam Fung to begin and conclude the movie. Some may scoff at the substance of their affection for each other and dismiss it as no more than a convenient means for their hedonistic ways- but director Wilson Chin prefers not to glamorise or criticise, instead holding up a mirror to their lifestyle and reflecting it as it is to his audience, many of whom may likely have similar personal experiences of their own.

    Most of the film unfolds through a series of parties within the span of two years, as the characters meet, separate and then unite once again to hugs and kisses and maybe even one-night stands. The latter should also serve as fair warning for those who think they may be offended by the fickleness and promiscuity of some of the younger generation today- there is ample on display here, and good reason why this is one of the rare Hong Kong movies to earn an M18 rating for sexual scenes. Nonetheless, it should also be said that those looking for some tease and/or to ogle at the hot young cast assembled here will definitely enjoy the amount of skin and action going on in the film.

    And you're right- the film often doesn't go more than skin-deep to let the characters get to know each other, or for that matter, for its audience to know the characters. But it's also a case of art imitating life, the same ambiguity and superficiality a very quality of the real- life interactions which go on in places like this. With 'Lan Kwai Fong', Wilson has fashioned a film that has its finger firmly on the pulse of the partygoing scene among young adults today- and we dare say that this lively, engaging and most of all authentic portrait is a Zeitgeist in itself.


  3. This is probably as real and realistic as its gets in terms of making movies about night clubbing in the infamous LKF. It helps with all three actresses being hot (namely Dada, Jeana and Shinga). Then again, with such a trio of sexual powers exposing in every scenes, it is difficult not to enjoy the process. In fact this movie is actually a direct influence from a Taiwanese movie called "9pm to 5am", but the Hong Kong factor adds an extra dimension. Although nothing really is said about anything, LKF works because it is not about anything, but the ride, the process and the fun to go with it. It is sexy, carefree and pretty much oozing hotness everywhere. It's been a long time, since a pure Hong Kong film that talks, live and breathe the Hong Kong lifestyle and LKF serves out exactly that…

    Neo rates it 7/10.


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